Tires and Alignment

Keeping your tires inflated and your car properly aligned is a key part of vehicle maintenance that often goes over looked by many drivers.

Tires are an essential aspect of your vehicle. And like most other elements of your car, tires degrade over time. With that in mind, it’s important to keep an eye on your tires to make sure they’re in good condition.

You should examine your tires every few weeks. Be sure to check:

• Pressure Levels – If the tires look deflated, you may need to fill them, or you may have a leak that needs to be patched.
• Treads – Tire treads wear out over time, causing tires to bald. This leads to less on-road traction and can cause your vehicle to slip and slide more easily, especially on slick roads. The general rule is that if your tire treads are less than 1/16 of an inch deep, they need to be replaced. Check this by inserting a penny into your tread (head down). If Lincoln’s head is fully visible, it’s time to get new tires.
• Cracks – Look out for visible cracks in the sidewall of your tires. This could mean a leak is forming.

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If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s always a good idea to talk to one of Ric and Rocky’s auto service technician who can diagnose your tires and let you know if they need to be repaired or replaced.If you notice that your car slightly pulls to the left or right when you’re driving, you probably have an issue with your alignment. By making your sure car is properly aligned, not only will you stay safer, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of money in the long run.

Wheels Out of Alignment?

A properly aligned car is one whose axles are perpendicular to the road, and whose wheels are parallel to one another. If your wheels get out of alignment, your car will begin to pull in one direction, which can put you and your passengers in danger.

In addition to putting you in danger of crossing the centerline or driving onto the shoulder, poor alignment can put added strain on other parts of your vehicle. Two areas that take on added stress when your car is out of alignment are your brakes and suspension. If your car pulls to the left, your front left tire may wear down quicker than others because it is under more stress than the other wheels. Similar problems can occurred within your suspension. Your suspension is a very complex system, and the more stress it takes on because your alignment is out of whack, the greater the likelihood something could go wrong. Since your suspension is vital to your car’s performance, fixing any damage won’t come cheap.

Proper Alignment Can Save You Money

Proper alignment can save you money in more ways than one. First, when your car is aligned, pressure is evenly distributed amongst your tires. When pressure is evenly distributed, your tires wear down at a similar pace. If, however, your car is out of alignment, one tire may wear down much quicker than the others. Not only can this be a hazard in the event that you suffer a blowout while driving, but you’ll have to replace your tires more frequently.

Also, proper pressure on your tires can save you money at the pump. When your car is in alignment, there is minimal drag and friction on your tires. The less friction, the less fuel your car needs to burn to keep it in motion. More fuel in your tank means less stops at the pump.

Getting Your Wheels Aligned

Now that you know the importance of wheel alignment, the question at hand is, “How often should I have my car aligned?” A good rule of thumb to follow is to have your alignment tuned every other time you get your oil changed, or roughly 6,000-10,000 miles. If you can’t remember the last time you had your car aligned, it’s probably a good idea to have it checked the next time you take your car into the shop.

If you have questions about your wheel alignment, or you want to make an appointment to have your car re-aligned, give us a call at (734) 434-3195.

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